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Sainsbury's comes to aid after Blackbrook Zoo broken into

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 08, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Reece Greenhow, keeper at Blackbrook Zoo, surveys the damage.

Reece Greenhow, keeper at Blackbrook Zoo, surveys the damage.

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A LEEK supermarket has stepped in to help a zoo after it was badly damaged during a break-in.

Raiders targeted Blackbrook Zoo in Winkhill between 6.30pm on Wednesday and 9am on Thursday.

The tearoom at the zoo had to be closed after the incident, which caused hundreds of pounds of damage to equipment and furniture.

Police are now examining blood believed to have come from a cut suffered by the raider or raiders.

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Tearoom manager Sabrina Bowers has appealed for assistance from local businesses to help the zoo recover from the crime – and now Sainsbury's in Leek has stepped forward.

PR Ambassador for Sainsbury's Leek store, Heather Fryer-Winder, said: "We have been able to donate cakes, sandwiches, biscuits, tea cakes, bread and drinks so they are able to open to the public and offer refreshments.

"We have also donated crockery which was collected on Saturday.

"We just wanted to be able to help as we already donate our fruit, bread and vegetables to the zoo."

Sabrina told the Post & Times the zoo was grateful for the donations.

She added: "We're only a charity, so this whole incident has had quite a big impact. Keeping the tearoom closed for a couple of days has cost us a few hundred pounds at least, and that's before we look at replacing equipment, getting rid of the spoiled food and repairs.

"It's a horrible amount of damage we've suffered, and we've no idea why, so any help would go a long way."

The damage was discovered by 19-year-old zoo keeper Reece Greenhow.

He said: "I could see quite a few of the windows were broken, but at first I thought it might have been the wind.

"I rang the police and waited for James Owens, who was opening up with me, to come before I went inside and had a closer look. When we went in there was blood everywhere."

He added: "As bad as it is to see all the damage, at least nothing was stolen and the animals were not harmed – then it would have been really tragic."

Fellow zoo keeper James Owens, aged 20, from Cheadle Road, Leekbrook, arrived soon after Reece.

He said: "I'd gone to pick up some fruit and vegetables when I had a phone call from Reece telling me about the windows being smashed.

"As soon as I got there we could clearly see all the blood, and we knew someone had broken in – it looked like something from a horror film."

Staffordshire Police confirmed officers are investigating the incident and that forensic samples are being taken at the scene. Anyone with information is advised to call the 101 non-emergency number, quoting incident number 151 of January 30, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111

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